2018 marks the 100th anniversary celebrations around the globe of President Nelson Mandela’s birthday, and the Durban International Film Festival (DIFF) will present three films that provide fascinating insights into one of the most celebrated statesmen to have ever lived.
The DIFF, which is organised by the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Centre for Creative Arts and takes place from July 19 to 29, will feature Celebrating Mandela One Hundred, An Act Of Defiance and The State Against Mandela and the Others.
Celebrating Mandela One Hundred, is a documentary feature produced and conceptualised by Anant Singh, and made with the support and endorsement of the Nelson Mandela Foundation. The film traces Mandela’s life from his roots in the rural village of Mveso, to becoming one of the greatest leaders the world has ever seen. Celebrating Mandela One Hundred takes us beyond the political and into the personal, and features exclusive interviews with family members, close friends, comrades, politicians and international celebrities, telling us the story of a man who became an international icon.
An Act Of Defiance directed by Jean Van De Velde, tells the story of Bram Fischer who managed to reconcile his white Afrikaner roots with his desire for justice, joining the struggle against apartheid out of principle. He defended Nelson Mandela and his comrades in the Rivonia Trial of 1963 and 1964 – playing a crucial role in preventing the ANC-leaders being sentenced to death – and was an underground guerrilla at the same time.
Linking in with this film The State Against Mandela and the Others directed by Nicolas Champeaux, Gilles Porte, is a documentary based on recently recovered archival recordings of the Rivonia Trial hearings. Although Mandela took centre stage during the historic trial, there were nine others who, like him, faced the death sentence and were subject to pitiless cross-examinations. The film transports us back into the thick of the courtroom battles and attempts to redress the historic balance by putting Mandela’s comrades centre stage. State Against Mandela and the Others is a reminder, says co-director Gilles Porte, “that all great things that happen in this world are achieved collectively.”